There is little more than a month left in the summer transfer window and Arsenal fans are eagerly awaiting Arsene Wenger to implement the promised changes that will help enhance the Gunners' title challenge for 2011/2012, which if successful will eradicate a lingering six-season drought. However, apart from the recent acquisition of Ivorian striker Gervinho from OSC Lille for £10.5 million, little has materialized for the North London giants despite endless rumours.
The majority of the transfer speculation has been directed to the futures of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, who have both drawn closer to potential Arsenal exits. Fortunately, it appears playmaker Nasri will remain at the Emirates for 2011/2012; however, captain Cesc Fabregas looks set to finally complete the inevitable £35 million move to European kings Barcelona.
Nonetheless, reinforcements are required at Arsenal if Wenger hopes to sufficiently challenge for silverware and prevent the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United from engulfing the Gunners. Fortunately, the Frenchman possesses adequate funds to secure quality services and that what Wenger needs to do.
The midfield appears to be the main priority with Wenger stating he is satisfied with his defensive line despite the frailty of last campaign. With Fabregas certain to depart, attacking sparks are in high demand at the Emirates alongside consistency and depth.
Two signings that would immediately provide immense reassurance to the Arsenal faithful and send a clear, concise message to the English Premier League would be Valencia duo of Juan Mata and Ever Banega.
1. Juan Mata
The Spaniard has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal this summer and Mata was viewed as the ideal replacement should Samir Nasri depart. A diminutive yet quick and lethal winger, the 23-year-old has become one of the most devastating wingers in the Spanish La Liga. Boasting a 172 appearances and 46 goals for Valencia, Mata was one of the Oranges' Players of the Season in 2010/2011 with 46 appearances and nine goals.
Furthermore, the former Real Madrid youth recently enjoyed a stellar 2011 U-21 European Championship campaign in which Mata was pivotal as Spain achieved the crown which was highlighted by his selection in the Team of the Tournament.
The Spaniard's signature would provide an immense attacking presence who can thrive on the wing as Samir Nasri shifts into the position left by Fabregas's departure. Blessed with blistering speed and impressive composure, Mata evokes all the traits to an Arsenal player and Arsene Wenger is a known admirer of the 23-year-old.
The Frenchman previously prepared an £18 million bid but it is believed Valencia will only offload their prized winger for £23 million—a high yet necessary fee. Mata has been one of the most consistent players in Spain for the last few seasons and Fabregas's departure will generate the required funds.
Despite his size, Mata also possesses admirable strength and balance and many believe the Spaniard can thrive in the English Premier League despite the physicality. Current Arsenal winger Andrei Arshavin is 30 and the Gunners need to prepare a ready made replacement. Furthermore, fellow winger Theo Walcott is consistently enduring injury woes whilst Mata's arrival would enforce more attacking depth.
Mata is a fan of Arsenal and should he leave Valencia has stated the Gunners' as his preference however Tottenham and Liverpool are also tremendously interested in the dynamo. With the need for success at the Emirates situated at the highest, Juan Mata is well worth breaking the Gunners' club record transfer for.
2. Ever Banega
Last season the Arsenal midfield's lack of depth was greatly exposed as the Gunner's endured a horrific demise following their Carling Cup Final defeat. Despite boasting the likes of Cesc Fabregas, renowned defensive midfielder Alexandre Song and teenage sensation Jack Wilshere, the likes of Denilson, Abou Diaby and Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky failed to provide the adequate impact when called upon.
The North London giants need the reinforcements of a quality central midfield presence, particularly with Fabregas departing to Barcelona and Denilson being loaned to Brazilian giants Sao Paulo. Rosicky is struggling with fitness and at 30 does not have time on his side whilst Diaby is also nursing lingering health woes.
Ever Banega would be the ideal midfield transfer and would greatly increase the Gunners' title aspirations. A tough, composed play maker who combines a dynamic, efficient attacking game with a combative defensive display. A consistent and assuring figure in Valencia's midfield, the 23-year-old enjoyed a strong 2010/2011 with 34 appearances and three goals.
Aggressive and intelligent, the Argentine would implement added depth particularly as Alexandre Song will miss a month of football in January due to commitments with Cameroon in the African Cup of Nations. Furthermore Banega is a tireless worker who thrives on movement and possession, two traits installed into the Arsenal attack..
A high target for Inter Milan, Banega is acquirable for under £10 million, according to Valencia—a deal which is incredibly appealing for the Gunners.
Two players which would pose as huge signings for Arsene Wenger, funds are not an issue for the Gunners and if necessary, the Frenchman can offer youngster Carlos Vela on loan to reduce the overall amount.
The transfers would be clear indication of Arsenal's goals and belief for 2010/2011 and it would also greatly help mitigate the departure of Cesc Fabrgeas. It is clear that the Valencia duo is exactly what Wenger needs for success.